Cloud-based e-discovery has received so much attention of late that it’s easy to forget that it’s still a relatively new phenomenon. Companies are still assessing the potential pros and cons of the cloud deployment model.
A recent ABA Journal article calls attention to the fact that in addition to the commonly-cited benefits of cost transparency, faster deployments and more frequent software updates, the cloud gives organizations that lack robust IT departments another option for insourcing e-discovery because, as the article states, “all the hardware and software installation logistics are sidestepped.”
The ABA Journal quotes attorney Alan Winchester, a partner at the New York City firm Harris Beach, from a panel discussion held at LegalTech New York earlier this year where he said, “For firms without robust IT departments, it grants them the experts to manage the technology operations and security.” Those experts of course are the vendors themselves, who manage the software behind the scenes, taking care of such tasks as updates and bug fixes. Winchester addressed the topic from the perspective of law firms, but the same reality holds true for corporations.
One might assume that all large corporations have robust IT departments. In fact, many large corporations have outsourced all or part of their IT needs to service companies. In cases where IT has largely been outsourced, organizations often find that asking their service provider to manage a new application is more expensive than asking the software vendor to do it.
When organizations do have the internal IT resources to deploy an e-discovery system in-house, the question then becomes: why would they want to? Putting aside the rigors of software deployment that can disrupt IT operations, cloud-based e-discovery systems often function better than their on-premise counterparts.
This point was addressed in a recent article by eDJ Group contributor Michael Simon, an e-discovery consultant for Seventh Samurai. He writes, “Using hordes of cheap, virtualized machines, it’s still dramatically cheaper to operate than old-school massive, constantly expanding data centers and the headcount needed to manage them…Massively parallel systems also result in massive gains in speed. Such systems can scale up immediately and nearly without limit because they readjust the processing loads on the fly; they bring enormous computing power to bear when and where it is needed—and only then.”
Simon joins hoards of other experts in debunking the argument that organizations can’t trust cloud vendors to properly secure their data. He cleverly points out that the attorneys that hold on to this perspective are often the same people that send client data over unencrypted email (e-discovery consultant Brett Burney echoed this point in an interview we posted from LegalTech).
The bottom line, the list of pros in support of cloud-based e-discovery software solutions seem to be growing, while the list of cons continually shrinks. When it comes to the cloud, is there really much left to debate?